Beyond The Night, by Joss Ware

>> Monday, February 11, 2013

TITLE: Beyond The Night
AUTHOR: Joss Ware

PAGES: 400
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins

SETTING: 2060 in what's now the US
TYPE: Post-apocalyptic romance
SERIES: Envy Chronicles book 1

A man with no future...

When Dr. Elliott Drake wakes from a mysterious fifty-year sleep, the world as he knew it is gone. Cities are now desolate, and civilization is controlled by deadly immortals. Stranger still is Elliott's extraordinary new "gift"--he has the power to heal, but it comes with fatal consequences.

A woman with a past...

Jade barely escaped the immortals and is now hell-bent on revenge. She trusts no one . . . until Elliott. His piercing gaze and tempting touch shatter her defenses, but the handsome doctor seems to have dangerous secrets of his own. Is it safe to trust him with her heart?

If they are to survive in this dark new world, Jade and Elliott must work together to fight the forces that take them beyond danger.

Beyond desire.
I've been eyeing this post-apocalyptic romance series for a while now, and I finally tried the first one this month. It showed great promise at first, but then didn't fully deliver on that promise.

Elliott and his friends were just regular guys when they decided to explore some caves in Sedona. While they were inside, there was a massive earthquake, and they all lost consciousness. And then they woke up, and soon realised they'd been asleep for 50 years. Turns out those earthquakes were part of events that triggered world-wide devastation, and very few people survived.

When we meet Elliott and his friends, it's been 6 months and they have began to accept that the world they lived in is gone and get to grips with this new one (which comes complete with zombie-like creatures which hunt humans at night). They've managed to piece together some of what happened all those years ago, but there are still many questions left. They've been looking for a place called Envy, apparently the largest new city around, where they hope they can find someone who was alive back then and might have more information.

Their chance comes when they rescue a group of kids from the zombies. They're helped in the rescue by Jade, a mysterious woman who rides in on a mustang and helps save the day. Both Jade and the kids are from Envy, and the kids agree to let the men escort them back. There, they finally find someone who survived the disasters, and before they can blink, they have joined him and Jade in the resistance against a shadowy group called the Strangers. According to their new friends, the Strangers prey on humans, and might even have caused the events that ended the world.

So, a lot going on, and I haven't even mentioned the special powers the men have developed after their 50-year sleep (Elliott, who's a doctor, is now able to scan people like a living MRI, and then heal their injuries, although with the minor glitch that he takes on those injuries himself). On the whole, it started out really well on the world-building front. It's interesting and vivid, and I really liked the sort of Wild West feel. Also, having the book start 6 months after the men wake up was a good choice, as that way Ware avoids too many infodumps when they're being told new things (there's a lot of info they need to learn, as it is, especially all the stuff about the Strangers), and doesn't have to deal with their shock and confusion on top of all the worldbuilding.

I was completely engaged in this world right about the moment when all the revelations start coming in about the Strangers, and who may have caused the apocalypse. That's where Ware lost me. It all became too silly and nonsensical. The focus moved from humanity organising itself and creating a new world after a massive disaster, to monstruously evil people plotting their evil plots. I liked Ware's take on the former, but had not a whit of interest in the latter.

And then there's the romance. From the beginning, it felt forced, and the chemistry just wasn't there. There was lots of lusting (often at really weird, inappropriate points), but I never believed in it. Elliott was a good character, but Jade never really gelled.

MY GRADE: I read about 2/3 of the book, which is much further than I usually get into a DNF, but I just wasn't interested enough in these people and their world to continue.


Brie 13 February 2013 at 20:24  

Ha! I had the same reaction -- great start, but falls apart at the end. I figured that since it was the first book in a series and the author had potential, I should give her a second chance, so tried to read book 2... It was worse. A shame, because there were some good ideas buried in there.

Rosario 15 February 2013 at 07:05  

It was the whole Atlantis thing that pushed it over the edge -for me, it was a step too far. I had a fleeting thought of trying the next ones, as some of the characters were interesting, but nah, I'd have the same issues.

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